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Piaggio tight-lipped on jet study

Market research suggests Italian manufacturer is set to produce new aircraft to meet corporate challenge

Market researcher Forecast International is conducting an online survey on behalf of an unidentified “world-ranked aircraft manufacturer” to evaluate the market for a family of new light and medium business jets that bear a striking resemblance to Piaggio’s P180 Avanti twin-turboprop.

Piaggio

Piaggio declines to comment on whether it commissioned the market study, describing the resemblance as “circumstantial”, but the Italian manufacturer has previously said it is studying a possible family of jets.

“Piaggio is looking at future possible products, we’ve been saying that for years, but there has been no decision,” says Massimo Isidori, vice-president aircraft sales, Europe and the Middle East. “When we’re ready we’ll make the proper announcement.”

Piaggio is believed to have been studying for almost two years a series of new aircraft, of which the eight-passenger “Light-Medium jet” in the online survey could be the first model, with initial negotiations under way with potential suppliers for around 18 months.

The Forecast study details the baseline Light-Medium variant, which would have a range of 4,260km (2,300nm) and would be priced at under $11 million. It would compete with the Cessna Citation XLS and Bombardier Learjet 45XR, offering a bigger cabin, faster cruise speeds, shorter climb time and field length and longer range. The study also details a stretched 10-passenger “Medium jet” derivative to compete with the Cita­tion Sovereign and Hawker 800XP.

The survey also refers to a “Light” six- to nine-passenger version. All three variants would have 80% commonality. Engines for the Light-Medium and Medium jets are in the 4,600lb-thrust (20kN) class and would be the Honeywell TFE731-50/60 or the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW300. The proposed Light model could be powered by other versions of the TFE731 or the PW500 and PW600 range.

Specifications

 

Light-Medium

Medium

Length (m)

18.2

20.2

Wingspan  m)

17.6

17.6

Height (m)

5.9

5.9

Cabin height  (m)

1.88

1.88

Cabin width (m)

2.01

2.01

Passengers

8

10

MTOW (kg)

10,900

13,600

Ceiling altitude (ft)

47,000

47,000

IFR range (km)

4,260

5,550

Max speed (kt/Mach)

315/0.8

315/0.8

Price ($m)

<11

<13.5

MTOW=maximum take-off weight

GRAHAM WARWICK/WASHINGTON DC

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